European Supergrid could create ‘thousands of jobs’

Download document:

A European Supergrid – Submission to the ECCC - .PDF file.

Download document:

European Supergrid – IET submission to ECCC - .PDF file.

Connecting the nation’s electricity system with neighbouring countries via a new European Supergrid could turn Britain into a net exporter of energy.

Tim Yeo MP, chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, made this assessment as the Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee delivered its report on the European Supergrid.

The new grid would also allow the National Grid to balance supply and demand more effectively as intermittent sources of electricity become more prevalent in the energy mix.

The cost of developing such a supergrid could be very high, the report warns, but it may lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs in the offshore renewable industry.

Between 80 and 280 wind farms are likely to be constructed in the North Sea in the next 20 years. The cost and size of these new assets would be prohibitive if single connections to the shore were made, according to the report.

A supergrid would reportedly deliver a 25 per cent capital cost saving on connecting each new offshore wind or marine energy farm compared to connecting each site individually.

‘If we continue developing these renewable resources site by site it could be prohibitively expensive with large individual connections for each power plant,’ said Yeo. ‘Developing an integrated and interconnected offshore network would allow us to tap these huge resources cost-efficiently and prepare the ground for a future European Supergrid — if it is necessary and feasible in future.’

‘We need to better understand the value in the proposed European Supergrid in managing wind variability versus other options, and taking account of the need to deal with prolonged periods of low wind across Europe,’ said Dr Simon Harrison from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

‘Assuming that this analysis shows positive benefits then we would agree with the committee that strong government leadership and action will be needed to drive this agenda forward in Europe.’

Click below to read IET’s submission on the European Supergrid.